Catholic Bishops Apologize for “Serious Abuse” in Facilities They Managed – .

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Catholic Bishops Apologize for “Serious Abuse” in Facilities They Managed – .


TORONTO – A major Canadian branch of the Catholic Church has apologized for the first time for the horrors that occurred in the residential schools it led for the federal government for more than a century.

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) on Friday released a statement recognizing what it described as “serious abuse by some members of our Catholic community” in schools, as well as the “suppression by the residential school system native languages, culture and spirituality. “

“With these Catholic entities who have been directly involved in the operation of the schools and who have already offered their own most sincere apologies, we, the Catholic Bishops of Canada, express our deep remorse and we apologize unequivocally,” the statement read. .

Additionally, the bishops referred to an upcoming meeting previously announced between Pope Francis, residential school survivors and other Indigenous knowledge keepers in December. The bishops declared that this meeting would aim to determine how the Pope “can support our common desire to renew relations and to walk together on the path of hope in the years to come”.

There were 139 residential schools in the federally funded program, which operated in Canada between the late 19th century and 1996. Many of these were run by the Catholic Church.

Thousands of the 150,000 First Nations, Métis and Inuit children who attended these schools have died, with some estimates placing the death toll at 15,000. Hundreds of anonymous graves were found at the sites of several former residential schools earlier this year. ; in some cases, the number of children buried at the sites is believed to be several times higher than any official death toll.

While priests and bishops have apologized for the church’s role in running schools, there had never been a formal apology from the Canadian Catholic hierarchy until Friday. The Vatican has also never apologized, despite calls to do so.

The Catholic Church has also been criticized, including by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, for failing to provide full access to residential school records. The bishops said in their statement that they “will continue the work of providing documents or records that will help memorialize those buried in anonymous graves.”

The CCCB said that in addition to existing initiatives to promote healing and reconciliation, it will launch new fundraising initiatives in every region of the country “to support locally discerned initiatives with indigenous partners.”

The bishops also pledged to enter “a new era of reconciliation” by inviting residential school survivors and other Indigenous peoples to share their stories with Canadian Catholics.

The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation will be celebrated for the first time on September 30.

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If you are a former residential school student in distress or have been affected by the residential school system and need assistance, you can contact the 24 hour residential schools crisis line: 1-866-925- 4419

Additional Aboriginal mental health support and resources are available here.

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